Italy

Appellations

Barolo is greatest, most intense and expressive display of the Northern Italian grape variety Nebbiolo. The name is given to bottles from the Piedmont area, made exclusively from Nebbiolo, and coming from the five core towns of Barolo, La Morra, Serralunga d'Alba, Castiglione Falletto and Monforte d'Alba, along with certain other peripherary villages. The wines offer power, aromatics and longevity that is almost unmatched elsewhere in Italy, perhaps the world. Top, forward thinking producers have pushed huge changes in the winemaking culture of the area, and as a result finer, purer Barolo is being produced than ever before.
An important Tuscan DOCG known for the production of intensely powerful red wines made from the Brunello clone of Sangiovese which reaches levels of richness and structure not found elsewhere in Tuscany. The climate is arid and warm though cooled by a maritime breeze from the south west. The zone is essentialy split into two: a warmer southern region that producers earlier drinking, fuller wines, and the Northern, higher altitude zone on Galestro soils that produces more aromatic, finer examples, Pertimali being amongst them.
Campania, the shin of Italy’s boot, is very much a symbol of tradition, hearty countryside and classical wines. In fact, the quality potential here was always well known, but for many years the region produced middling wines, of a somewhat rustic character. The 1990s saw a revival in its fortunes however, as more conscientious producers took note of their local landscape, punctuated as it is by vertiginous hilly-mountains. Altitude would be the key in alleviating soaring summer temperatures and capturing beautiful aromatics. So it was then, that mediocre vineyards were pulled up and replanted at ever-higher levels. Plantings on volcanic, rocky soils increased and became some of the highest in all of Italy. Nowadays, red grapes at 400m are commonplace, and whites can be even higher; marrying warm daytime temperatures, cooling winds and day/night swings that keep acidities lively. The benchmark white varieties include Falanghina, Fiano and Greco di Tufo, while for the reds Aglianico is the star. Two key wine producing areas are Taurasi DOCG; the source of exceptional Aglianico, and Taburno – a diverse region producing many of Campania’s key varieties. Cantina del Taburno is a particularly reliable co-operative. We are also thrilled to work with Quintodecimo, the estate owned by Luigi Moio - a consultant and Italian winemaking expert from an historic Campanian family. Given the opportunity to go it alone in 2001, he hasn’t looked back, and the wines coming out of this estate are some of the most exciting we have tasted.
Carmignano DOCG sits to the North of Chianti in Tuscany, but at lower altitude, thus allowing the Sangiovese grown there to ripen properly. It is the only Tuscan DOCG to require the inclusion of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend, and the wines grown here are generally richer, of lower acidity and with firmer tannins that those of neighbouring Chianti.
Castiglione Falletto is one of the core towns in the region of Piedmonte famed for making Barolo. It lies across the valley from La Morra, to the north east of the town of Barolo and is responsible for some of the most powerful Barolo bottlings. It is home to the great Bricco Fiasco vineyard, as worked by Paulo Scavino and Azelia.
Friuli, in the north-easternmost region of Italy, bordering Austria and Slovenia is famed for its dry crisp fruity whites.
La Morra, village within the Barolo region , produces some of the most fragrant, perfumed and elegant expressions of Nebbiolo in all of Piedmont. Elio Altare, trailblazer for the modern movement is based here alongside Marco Marengo and the brothers Corino.
The most important DOC in Umbria, where almost uniquely amongst Italian whites the wines are produced from a blend of five varietals. The wines are generally fresh in their youth, but can develop real complexity with a little age.
Piedmont sitting at the foot of the mountains is justly regarded as one of, if not the finest wine growing region in Italy. The noblest grape found in the region in undoubtedly Nebbiolo, with the DOCG's of Barolo and Barbaresco at the forefront of production. Barbera and Dolcetto come in second and third, and being earlier ripening are often found located on those sides of the hills that receive less sunshine. The wines from Piedmont are intrinsically food friendly wines, a fact understandable given the culinary strength of the area.
In the baking Sicilian sun respite is found from the heat at alitude. On the sundrenched volcanic slopes of Mount Etna heat is mitigated by elevated vineyard sites that provide refreshing air currents and positively cool nights. A relatively new region in terms of high quality production, producers such as Tenuta delle Terre Nere are proving what can be achieved with Burgundian treatment of grapes such as Nerello Mascalese. These are wines that need to be tasted to be believed offering the aromatic qualities of Pinot Noir alongside some of the backbone of Nebbiolo.
Umbria is one of the smaller Italian wine making regions, with an annual production a mere third of neighbouring Tuscany. Orvieto is the major DOC for whites, and yet throughout the region a huge variety of red and white wines are produced from a number of different grape varieties.
Now the largest wine-producing region in Italy, Veneto sits in the north-east of Italy stretching westward to Lake Garda and north to the Austrian border. Soave and Valpolicella are the regions two most important zones, but drastic enlargments of existing DOCs means that quality is not always assurred. Look for quality conscious growers such as Gini who use the single varietal Garganega rather than the other, permitted but somewhat neutral varieties.